RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — Garrett Schmitz never gets tired of playing hockey. He does, however, admit to getting physically tired on the ice at times.
“I like playing a lot,” the Red Lake Falls High School junior said. “I do get tired sometimes. But I’m getting used to it.”
Schmitz is part of the iron-man unit that has helped the Eagles start the season with nine wins in their first 14 games.
There are only 14 players on the RLF varsity roster, several of whom are inexperienced freshmen. As a result, Eagles coach Brad Kennett has relied heavily on eight skaters and one goaltender.
“We get the freshmen out there a lot more against the teams that are more our size and caliber,” Kennett said. “Against the high-end teams, we’ve played a very limited number of guys. Right now, we’ve been fortunate enough to stay healthy. And about half the teams on our schedule are in the same boat as us, counting on a few guys to play a lot. We have probably 6-7 guys who would fit in somewhere on almost any team in Section 8A.”
Schmitz and Robbie Glass are the top Red Lake Falls defensemen. Against the better teams, Kennett said, Schmitz rarely leaves the ice and Glass also plays almost all the time.
The situation is similar on the lines.
Senior Andrew Jahnke centers Dylan Zutz and Max Martocq, a foreign exchange student from France. That trio plays every other shift. Joe Berberena centers the second shift, with four players alternating at the wings.
The Jahnke line has been the most productive. Jahnke paces the offense (12 goals, 22 assists — 34 points), followed by Zutz (16-17 — 33). Martocq has 28 points. Berberena has contributed 13 points. The Eagles also get big offensive production from Schmitz (29 points, including a team-leading 20 goals) and Glass (2-13 — 15).